The exit of M K Narayanan as the National Security Adviser (NSA) in January 2010 was seen as a “positive” development by the US which considered his view on Kashmir as “obstructionist“.
In a cable to the U.S. State Department, then American Ambassador Timothy Roemer said that India’s Kashmir policy became “more consolidated” under the “more forward leaning Home Minister P Chidambaram”.
At the outset, Mr. Roemer mentions that Mr. Narayanan’s exit was a “plus side” as he played a “dominant, conservative and often obstructive role in GoI policy on Kashmir“.
“The exit of M K Narayanan from the National Security Advisor position in the Prime Minister’s Office has potentially important implications for India policy on Kashmir,” he observed in a cable on February 1, last year.
The communication is part of the over 2.5 lakh cables released by WikiLeaks.
“Narayanan cast a huge shadow over decision-making on internal security issues and, due to his intelligence and security background as well as his ties to the Nehru-Gandhi family, he seldom lost a bureaucratic or policy battle,” the U.S. envoy wrote back to Washington.
“Narayanan’s natural instinct on Kashmir (and Pakistan) was cautious, conservative, and obstructionist,” Mr. Roemer said.
He observed that with Mr. Narayanan’s departure, Mr. Chidambaram will become the primary source of decision-making on Kashmir.
“In the last six months, he (Chidambaram) has shown that he is willing to be a risk-taker on this intractable issue,” Mr. Roemer said.
Former Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon took over as the National Security Adviser on January 23, 2010 after Narayanan was appointed as governor of West Bengal.